Chicago Shakespeare Theater Announces Casting for
Season Opening Production Edmond Rostand’s
Cyrano de Bergerac
Directed by Penny Metropulos
Featuring Harry Groener in the Title Role
September 24–November 10, 2013
Chicago—August 14, 2013—Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) announced today casting for Cyrano de Bergerac, launching the Theater’s 2013-2014 Season. CST’s new production of Edmond Rostand’s timeless classic, adapted and translated by Anthony Burgess, marks the return to CST of director Penny Metropulos and film and stage actor Harry Groener, the duo behind the Theater’s award-winning 2011 production of The Madness of George III. Featuring some of the most romantic and witty verse written for the stage, Cyrano de Bergerac is a poignant and entertaining homage to poetry, love and panache which will run in CST’s Courtyard Theater September 24 through November 10, 2013.
“We have long wanted to bring this beautiful play to our audiences at Chicago Shakespeare, but we hadn’t found our Cyrano or the director to realize the complexity of this character. That is, until we experienced the chemistry and the artistry of Harry Groener and Penny Metropulos,” said CST Artistic Director Barbara Gaines. “Cyrano is a role of a lifetime and a story that touches every heart. The stars have aligned to reunite this powerhouse team who, when combined with a first rate cast and the award-winning team of designers, will breathe fresh life into this masterwork.”
Cyrano de Bergerac tells the tale of the iconic nobleman whose gift for romance is shadowed by his all-too-prominent nose. Feeling unworthy of the love of the beautiful Roxane, Cyrano uses his intellect and style wooing her for his comrade Christian to heart-wrenching effect. Cyrano de Bergerac opens the season showcasing the celebrated partnership of director Penny Metropolus and actor Harry Groener, the actor-director team behind CST’s wildly popular production of The Madness of George III. The illustrious Harry Groener, who took home Chicago’s Best Actor Jeff Award for his performance of King George, will tackle the title role of Cyrano, considered one of the hallmark roles for an actor. Mr. Groener’s expansive stage career includes critically-acclaimed performances on Broadway in Crazy for You (Tony Award® nomination), Oklahoma! (Theatre World Award, Tony Award® and Drama Desk Award nominations), Cats (Tony Award® nomination), Harrigan and Hart (Drama Desk Award nomination), Sunday in the Park with George, Imaginary Friends, and Spamalot. He was last seen in Chicago creating the role of General William Tecumseh Sherman in the 2012 world premiere of The March at Steppenwolf Theatre Company. Mr. Groener is also a frequent face in film and television, most recognized as The Mayor in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Penny Metropulos returns to CST to direct the production after winning the Best Director Jeff Award for The Madness of King George III. Ms. Metropulos recently spent nineteen seasons with the renowned Oregon Shakespeare Festival, twelve of which leading company as Associate Artistic Director. Representative credits there include Henry IV Part 1, The Philanderer, Lorca in a Green Dress (World Premiere), Antony and Cleopatra, As You Like It, The Tempest, The Good Person of Szechuan, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Death of a Salesman.
Joining Groener as Cyrano’s love interest Roxane is Julie Jesneck, who makes her CST debut. Ms. Jesneck has been seen on Broadway as Diedre in Trevor Nunn’s production of Rock ‘n’ Roll and Off-Broadway in Mary Broome and Love Goes To Press (Mint Theater). Her diverse credits include performances both classical, such as The Gaming Table (Folger Theatre) and Othello (The Old Globe), and in new works, including starring as Emm in the world premiere of Grace, or the Art of Climbing (Denver Center). Rounding out the love triangle is Nick Dillenburg as Christian, making his Chicago and CST debut. Dillenburg’s New York credits include Hater (Ohio Theater), Henry V in Into the Hazard: Henry V (Walkerspace), and Taking Leave (Manhattan Class Company FreshPlay), with work at The Shakespeare Theatre Company, Berkshire Theatre Festival, Guthrie Theater, and Utah Shakespeare Festival.
Actors returning to Chicago Shakespeare are Sean Fortunato (The School for Lies, Sunday in the Park with George, Timon of Athens) as Cyrano’s friend and confidante La Bret; Jeff Award-winning actor Ross Lehman (As You Like It, Twelfth Night, The Comedy of Errors) as Ragueneau; and Wendy Robie (Private Lives, Richard III, Hamlet) performing the roles of Duenna and Mother Marguerite. CST welcomes back to the Courtyard Stage William Dick (Henry VIII, Timon of Athens, The Madness of George III) to play the Patron and Capuchin, Richard Baird (The Madness of George III) as Montfleury and Brendan Marshall-Rashid (Romeo and Juliet, Richard III) as the Marquis. Also returning to CST are Terrence Mosley as Cuigy, Kevin Cox as the Pickpocket, and Dave Belden in the ensemble.
New faces on Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s stages include Aloysius Gigl as the deceitful Comte de Guiche, Ryan Bourque as his accomplice Vicomte de Valvert and Ray Chapman as Ligniere. Also new to CST are Michael Doonan as Jodelet, Erika Haaland as Rose and Sister Claire and Sara Griffin performing the roles of Lisa, Precieuse and Sister Marte. Tyler Rich, Ryan Hallahan, Elliott Delman, Regina Leslie, Rosa Reinemann, Kenton Gott and Aaron Latteral complete the cast.
The Jeff Award-winning creative team for Cyrano de Bergerac includes Scenic Designer Kevin Depinet (Sunday in the Park with George, Follies, Timon of Athens, As You Like It), Costume Designer Susan Mickey (The School for Lies, Timon of Athens, Richard III), and Lighting Designer Jesse Klug (Shrek The Musical, Murder for Two, Cadre, SS! The Taming of the Shrew). Composer Rokko Jans, who has written music for over 23 productions at Chicago Shakespeare (including Twelfth Night, Cymbeline, Henry IV Parts 1 and 2) and resident Wig and Make-up Designer Melissa Veal (Henry VIII, Julius Caesar, The School for Lies) also join the exceptional team of designers.
Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s Cyrano de Bergerac runs September 24 through November 10, 2013 in CST’s Courtyard Theater. Tickets are on sale now for $58–$78 with special discounts available for groups of 10 or more, as well as CST for $20 tickets available for patrons under 35. All patrons receive a 40% discount on guaranteed parking in Navy Pier garages. For more information or to purchase tickets or a season subscription, contact Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s Box Office at 312.595.5600 or visit the Theater’s website at www.chicagoshakes.com.
Programs in conjunction with performances of Cyrano de Bergerac include:
Pre•Ambles: Half-hour introductory lectures on Cyrano de Bergerac presented by scholars will take place on Friday, October 11 at 6:45 p.m. and on Sundays at 1:00 p.m. on October 6, 13, 20, 27 and November 3 and 10. Admission is free and no reservations are required.
Talk-Backs: Post-show discussions for the audience follow each Wednesday and Thursday 1:00 p.m. performance. Admission is free for ticketed patrons and no reservations are required.
Pub Cast Call: Patrons are invited to join several members of the cast on Friday, October 25 at 6:30 p.m. in CST’s English-stype Pub to informally discuss the production that evening. Admission is free for ticketed patrons and no reservations are required.
Audio-Described Performance and Touch Tour: Sunday, October 6 at 2:00 p.m. (Touch Tour at 12:15 p.m.)
Open-Captioned Performance: Friday, October 18 at 7:30 p.m.
Duo-Interpreted Sign Language Performance: Friday, October 25 at 7:30 p.m.
CHICAGO SHAKESPEARE THEATER 2013/14 SEASON
Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s upcoming season promises to bring audiences face to face with larger-than-life characters in some of the great masterworks written for the stage, theater artists from across the globe and introductions to Shakespeare for the entire family.
Cyrano de Bergerac | September 24 – November 10, 2013 | CST Courtyard Theater
by Edmond Rostand | translated and adapted by Anthony Burgess | directed by Penny Metropulos
The actor-director team behind CST’s wildly popular The Madness of George III reunite as director Penny Metropulos stages the Theater’s first-ever Cyrano de Bergerac, featuring star of stage and screen Harry Groener (recipient of Best Actor Jeff Award for his turn as King George).
Press opening: October 2, 2013
Blind Summit’s The Table | October 16 – October 27, 2013 | Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare
devised by Sarah Calver, Ivan Thorley, Irena Stratieva and Mabel Jones
A cantankerous puppet with a cardboard head is having an existential crisis on a table. Hilarious, beautiful, and occasionally profound, this show is a visual feast of Bunraku puppetry—where multiple puppeteers, visible to the audience, breathe poignant life into their characters and, using humor and improvisation, show us something of ourselves in the cardboard, wood and fabric creations onstage.
Press opening: October 16, 2013
The Merry Wives of Windsor | December 3, 2013 – January 19, 2014 | CST Courtyard Theater
by William Shakespeare | directed by Barbara Gaines
Make merry with Sir John Falstaff, one of Shakespeare’s favorite clowns, rollicking through his misadventures in the play that is considered one of the world’s first situation comedies. Merriment ensues as the shenanigans of the lovable rogue find him hard up for money, wooing the wives of Windsor’s gentlemen with hilarious consequences.
Press opening: December 11, 2013
Gypsy | February 6 – March 23, 2014 | CST Courtyard Theater
book by Arthur Laurents | music by Jule Styne | lyrics by Stephen Sondheim | directed by Gary Griffin
Inspired by the memoirs of famous burlesque dancer Gypsy Rose Lee, this jewel of American musical theater features her ambitious, domineering stage mother Momma Rose as she struggles to live out her dreams through her daughters’ careers during the waning years of the vaudeville circuit.
Press opening: February 13, 2014
Short Shakespeare! A Midsummer Night’s Dream | February 22 – March 22, 2014 | CST Courtyard Theater
by William Shakespeare | adapted and directed by David H. Bell
Shakespeare's whimsical fantasy comes to life in this 75-minute abridged version. Recommended for ages 10 and up.
Press opening: February 22, 2014
Road Show | March 13 – May 4, 2014 | Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare
book by John Weidman | music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim | directed by Gary Griffin
Based on the lives of brothers Addison and Wilson Mizner, Road Show spans forty years, from the Alaskan Gold Rush to the Florida real estate boom in the 1930s. One a con and the other attempting a respectable life, the brothers stick together through a variety of get-rich-quick schemes, exploring the pursuit of the American Dream.
Press opening: March 20, 2014
Kneehigh’s Tristan & Yseult | March 30 – April 13, 2014 | CST Courtyard Theater
by Anna Maria Murphy and Carl Grose | adapted and directed by Emma Rice
A fanciful retelling one of the world's oldest love stories—blending comedy, live music, grand passion and tender truths. Lauded around the world for their trademark vitality, Kneehigh makes its long-awaited Chicago debut with the iconic production that first catapulted the company to international fame.
Press opening: April 2, 2014
Henry V | April 30 – June 16, 2014 | CST Courtyard Theater
by William Shakespeare | directed by Christopher Luscombe
Shakespeare’s epic history play filled with rallies to battle and wartime crises tells the legendary coming-of-age story of the charismatic monarch.
Press opening: May 7, 2014
one step at a time like this’ [title TBD] | Spring 2014 | locations around Chicago
based on William Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure
Building on the success of their theatrical excursion en route which came to Chicago’s streets in the summer of 2011, theater collective one step at a time and Chicago Shakespeare Theater partner to create a new “journey theater” event inspired by Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure.
Press opening: TBD, Spring 2014
ABOUT CHICAGO SHAKESPEARE THEATER
Chicago Shakespeare Theater is one of America’s largest and most celebrated theaters, producing and presenting a year-round season encompassing more than 600 performances at its home on Navy Pier. Its productions are also featured around the globe at the world’s most venerable theaters and festivals, including the Donmar Warehouse, Market Theatre of Johannesburg, Royal Shakespeare Company, Edinburgh Festival Fringe and Grahamstown’s National Arts Festival. Recipient of the Regional Theatre Tony Award®, Chicago Shakespeare’s work has been recognized with three of London’s prestigious Laurence Olivier Awards, and by the Chicago theater community with 70 Joseph Jefferson Awards for Artistic Excellence. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Barbara Gaines and Executive Director Criss Henderson, CST is dedicated to producing extraordinary productions of classics, new works and family fare; to unlocking Shakespeare’s work for educators and students; and to serving as Chicago’s cultural ambassador through its World’s Stage Series, an initiative that brings the world’s most exciting theatrical events to Chicago audiences and presents Chicago Shakespeare’s work abroad. www.chicagoshakes.com.
# # #